Last year, we reported on a Nature correction of a paper for what a McGill University committee had earlier called “intentionally contrived and falsified” figures. It turns out that the correction — like the original paper — left some Nature readers puzzled, so the journal has run a correction of the correction:
Owing to an error in the production process, some details were omitted from the advance online publication version of this Corrigendum: this is the complete version. When our Letter was under consideration at Nature, we originally showed co-immunoprecipitation between caspase-1 and wild-type caspase-12 or catalytically inactive caspase-12 (C299A) as part of Fig. 4. In response to reviewers’ comments, requesting co-immunoprecipitation with other caspases for specificity control, this original figure was removed from the manuscript and was later published as part of figure 6 of ref. 1. It was recently brought to our attention that the published Fig. 4c of our Letter is a composite image containing parts of the original figure (the immunoprecipitation lanes in Fig. 4c), and that the input lanes (‘Total Casp12’) are duplicated. Similarly, the anti-tubulin control right lanes of Fig. 4b are duplicates of the left lanes. We are unable to reconcile how these images were incorrectly assembled despite diligent efforts to do so. Figure 1 of this Corrigendum shows a correct Fig. 4c, representing a new and independent experiment, to replace Fig. 4c of our Letter. The interpretation of the data and the conclusions are unaffected; namely, that caspase-12 forms a complex with and co-immunoprecipitates with caspase-1 when co-expressed by transfection into human (HEK293T) cells. There is also some association of caspase-12 with caspase-5 (more so than previously described) but very little with caspase-9. The experiment is robust and has been repeated a total of four times (twice each by two workers, M.S. and Claudia Champagne). We have also re-probed the original western blot in Fig. 4b with anti-tubulin and provide a replacement panel for that loading control in Fig. 1 of this Corrigendum. Our conclusions remain unaltered and the original legend for Fig. 4 also remains correct.
Figure 1: This figure shows a correct Fig. 4c and Fig. 4b for our Letter:
For clarity, more details for the legend to Fig. 2a are also provided. It should read: “…LacZ-neo cassette in the Casp12 targeted allele; β-galactosidase appears red). Panel I shows an intestine section from a wild-type mouse that was stained for β-galactosidase as a negative control. Panels II and III show intestine sections. Panel III is an enlarged view from Panel II. Panels IV–VII show splenic sections. Panel VI is another region of the section shown in Panel V.”. The Supplementary Information to this Corrigendum shows the data used to generate Fig. 1 of this Corrigendum and Fig. 2a of our Letter.
We’d say this now easily qualifies as a mega-correction. Whether it really corrects the record, and gives reader the whole story, is another question.
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